In the Community

#ThrowbackThursday: November 23, 2006

With permission, The Beacon is archiving past issues of Matthews Record (also called Matthews News and Record and The Matthews News) articles online. Throwback Thursday articles will include relevant content still facing Matthews today. These stories were originally published November 23, 2006 and was written by the Record staff.

throwbackthursday nov 2006 rezoning.jpg

Rezoning request challenged

Over 100 Matthews residents turned out to hear a presentation by Beazer Homes and their proposed rezoning and development of 91 townhomes off South Trade Street last Thursday.

The purchase of roughly 20 acres of undeveloped land belonging to the Hylton and Martin families by Beazer Homes, will depend on the success of the zoning request. The homes would start at $265,000. Residents from Country Place, Hampton Green, and Chesney Glen, all neighboring subdivisions, quickly turned the subject to the everpresent topic - traffic.

“It horrifies me that we are even considering another development before the traffic problem is addressed,” said Jack Clark of Hampton Green, a sentiment that was echoed through the night.

With an estimated 182 more vehicles vying for traffic commute space between Fullwood, Pleasant Plains, and Weddington roads, the potential traffic quagmire overwhelmed those in attendance at the community meeting. Many citizens expressed concern about the “chicken before the egg” concept where development takes place before the traffic issues are resolved. Adjacent property owners indicated they were always aware of residential development of that site, for single-family homes, not townhomes. A couple of Matthews town commissioners were present, along with Mayor Lee Myers who addressed the crowd, trying to assure them that the development proposal is in its infancy and that the town leaders will do the right thing for the community. Citizens are encouraged to stay on top of further developments regarding the Beazer rezoning request.

#ThrowbackThursday: November 23, 2006

With permission, The Beacon is archiving past issues of Matthews Record (also called Matthews News and Record and The Matthews News) articles online. Throwback Thursday articles will include relevant content still facing Matthews today. These stories were originally published November 23, 2006 and was written by Janet Denk.

throwbackthursday nov 2006.jpg

The War at Home

“See that field over there?” 84-year-old Neubert Purser points to a garden half-full of greens and winter vegetables, a sliver the size it was in its heyday. “My wife and I pulled up tow-foot-tall Johnson grass by its roots and piled it in the driveway.”

His oldest child, Michael, smiles, probably having heard the story before. “We ran over it with a tractor and then we burned it. It still grew back.” Working and saving for over nine years, he and his wife, Juanita, settled on 70 acres of land on Matthews-Mint Hill Road near Phillips where they raised three children - all grown and living in the area with children of their own. Neubert and Juanita, now deceased, along with their children, grew and preserved their own food; raised crops, chickens, hogs, and cattle. People around town still talk about the incredible piece of property.

Hot Property

For the last thirty years, developers of every ilk have been eyeing Purser’s property. But he never put it up for sale.

“It got to be a joke in our family,” daughter Janet Harrell of Matthews chuckles. “Daddy would say, ‘It’ll cost $100,000 to look around.” The Charlotte News wrote a big story in the early eighties about Purser’s refusal to sell his land. But farming is in his blood and it’s all he ever planned to do.

Those weeds were tough and stubborn. But Purser is tougher. Some would say more stubborn, too.

While discussing the Town of Matthews’ recent condemnation of his property for future park and public use projects, there is a sense about the old farmer that goes beyond sadness. Defeat, maybe? That seems unlikely because anybody who’s spent time with Neubert Purser knows he isn’t a guy who will lay down without a fight.

He paid a big price for that dug-in nature.

The beginning of the end

Wounded at the age of 22 during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, the young man from Union County swore to himself that if he ever made it out of there alive, he was going to buy himself a little farm when he got back to the states. A dream, perhaps. But one that probably helped keep him alive.

Cold?

“You don’t know cold,’ he grimaces. “I seen frozen bodies stacked up like cords of wood in piles all over the place. All kinds of bodies.” He can’t stand going into funeral homes to this day.

In 1945, while preparing to cross the Roer River in Germany, Purser and other members of the 102 Infantry division took a beating.

“The Germans opened up with everything they had that night,’ he recalls. “I was hit when an 88mm shell exploded near the boat.” A chunk of meat was ripped from his right thigh. The men dug in for 12 hours that night waiting for the barrage to subside. “The sky was lit up so bright, you coulda read the newspaper.”

The wounded were thrown on, what Purser describes as, a cattle car and taken to the hospital. “If you hollered or cussed, you got a shot of morphine.”

Reflecting back, the old man says, “I always thought that if I had made it a couple more days after that fight, I might’ve gotten out of that war in one piece.”

He would’ve been right. After the crossing of the Roer, then the Rhine River, the German army was in full retreat and would never fully recover.

It was the beginning of the end.

Plans for growth and the greater good

“This is the absolute worst part of a job like this,” Matthews Town Manager Hazen Blodgett confessed.

Condemnation is undoubtedly one of the most difficult things the Town of Matthews has undertaken. The $5.0 million in park bonds that passed in 2004 was originally intended to purchase land and simply “land-bank” it. Vacant land in the Matthews community is vanishing fast. “We have about 43 acres of town parkland for 25,000 residents,” explained Blodgett. That’s way below national standards for open space. In a community growing as fast as Matthews - it’s an all-out war against encroachment. If the land is not set aside for public open space for future generations it will be lost to development. There are only a few large tracts left in Matthews like the Purser property.

The Town and the family have mediated an agreement that set the amount paid to the Pursers at $59,000 per acre. The old farmer will die on that soil. It will belong to the Town of Matthews but he has the right to stay there until the bitter end. Had the battle gone to court, a jury would have set the value of the land.

Twenty years from now, when Neubert Purser’s deeply loved land is helping to stem back the tide of relentless development, the sacrifice will seem worth it. The battle is a valiant one.

As families toss balls, fly kites, walk dogs, and send their children to Matthews’ newest public school near the corner of Phillips and Matthews-Mint Hill roads, Purser’s pain might not be in vain. “I’ve only seen my daddy cry three times in my life,’ says youngest daughter Lynn. ‘One, when our mother died; two, when his daddy died; and three, over this farm.”

Only time will tell if this soldier’s battle helped win the war.

throwbackthursday nov 2006 b.jpg

The image on the seal includes four aspects of Mecklenburg County and it still holds up. “The seal is as relative today as it was back then,” said County Commissioner Jennifer Roberts. She, along with many others in the community, appreciate the origins of the seal design: that fresh out of the segregationist days of the old south, a young black kid from the country is selected by a powerful board of local leaders to document and preserve the history of the county.

“I thought I could contribute something,” the young man told the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners in 1964 after receiving the honor. He’s still trying to make a contribution, which is why he’s been before the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners to offer his consulting services, should the design team need a little help.

Boyd never received any royalties for his work, despite the fact that he owns the patent on the design. He doesn’t want his contribution to be in vain.

That’s not likely to happen, his supporters say. The fact that a County Seal can say so much, from a guy who could’ve claimed so little and have it last so long - is admirable.

“That says an awful lot about the spirit of this place,” explained Juan Williams, owner and operator of Queen City Tours  who’s given more than his fair share of history lessons to natives and tourists alike. “It’s part of what makes the history of this place so interesting to so many people.” The seal is on vehicles, stationery, websites, and government paperwork. Mecklenburg County Manager Harry Jones Sr. has assured folks that Boyd will be included in a logo redesign, should the need arise.

2810 [high] 5: Things You Didn't Know About This Years Matthews Alive

  • LEGO Interactive Exhibit - Play-Well TEKnologies, an organization that offers LEGO-inspired.engineering classes for students in Kindergarten through 8th grade, presented an interactive LEGO exhibit in the Matthews Community Center. On that Saturday, festival visitors were able to partake in the building of the exhibition which was then on display for the rest of the festival.

  • Parade Length - the Matthews Alive Parade is one of the longest Labor Day Parades in the Southeast. The Parade included over 100 participants and lasted about an hour and a half.

  • Parade Start Time - the Matthews Alive Parade will be started at 9:30 this year, an hour earlier than past years. Festival organizers hoped that this change allowed parade participants and attendees to be cooler in the heat and limit train interruptions. Since the weather this year was already beautiful, the earlier start time only made the experience that much better.

  • Mission - Matthews Alive is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is "provide an opportunity for local non-profit groups to raise funds for their organization to benefit the community." Matthew's Alive has donated over 1.6 million dollars to local nonprofits and lists 34 organizations who benefitted this year. 

  • Volunteers - The festival is almost entirely volunteer operated. Over 2000 volunteers assisted during the festival, as well as the months leading up to it. Organizations who receive funds from Matthews Alive provided many of the volunteers for the festival who helped with everything from ticketing, to trash pickup, to managing the games.

 
kristen bio.jpg

Creature Feature: Charlotte’s Web

Before you get the napalm out, let me take a moment and explain why you should just let Spidey hang out.
garden spider.jpg

What is it about just the very thought of spiders that makes our skin crawl? Just imagining their many little legs scurrying along is the stuff of nightmares for many. And the bigger they are, the more terrifying they are.

Which means that many of you would rather burn your house down than let an Argiope aurantia take up residence.

Don't know which spider I'm talking about? You've probably seen the large, lanky Yellow Garden Spider lurking around your yard in the mid to late summer. In fact, her large size and bright (dare I say beautiful) golden color make her hard to miss.

What? That thing is living in my garden? You may have just shrieked and run for your blow torch. But before you get the napalm out, let me take a moment and explain why you should just let Spidey hang out.
Yellow Garden Spiders are large, orb-weaving spiders, which means they weave circular webs. They have a vast territory and can be found all throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Female spiders average between 0.75 and 1.1 inches in length, while males tend to only be about a third of that size. The big (dare I say beautiful again) ones you see are the females, with black coloring on the tops of their abdomens decorated with symmetrical patches of bright yellow. Towards the abdomen, the legs are reddish-brown and black towards the ends. Male spiders look similar, with brown all over their legs and much less yellow.

While they don’t write words, Yellow Garden Spiders weave a complex zig-zag pattern into their webs. They even have an additional claw on each foot to help them in their web-weaving activities. (While most spiders have two claws per feet, the Yellow Garden Spider has three.)

Which means, yes, they can likely be found living in your garden. But that’s actually a good thing, especially if you are a fan of tending to and caring for plants. Yellow Garden Spiders catch and eat insects in their web-many of which are pests that would happily munch away at your plants.

Yellow Garden spiders are also real-life Charlottes (you know, from Charlotte's Web. I hope I didn't lose you there). While they don’t write words, Yellow Garden Spiders weave a complex zig-zag pattern into their webs. They even have an additional claw on each foot to help them in their web-weaving activities. (While most spiders have two claws per feet, the Yellow Garden Spider has three.)

These patterns are called stabilimenta (or stabilimentum for an individual pattern). Producing silk for webs is a huge metabolic drain on spiders, which leads scientists to believe that stabilimentum surely must serve some purpose, but no one knows quite what that purpose is. Initially, scientists believed that stabilimenta served to give the webs stability (thus the name), but it's more accepted today that its purpose is to either increase or decrease web visibility, attract prey or a mate, or simply be a means to use up excess silk.

Interestingly, these spiders actually eat the central portions of their webs each night, allowing them to reabsorb the proteins in the silk back into their bodies and create more the next morning. They may also take in nutrients from tiny bits of insect stuck to the web.

At the end of summer, females produce three to four eggs sacs containing 300-1,400 eggs. The sacs look similar to paper bags and females will weave them into their webs to keep them safe over the winter. Each sac can release up to 1,000 spiderlings, but most won't survive into adulthood.

video Block
Double-click here to add a video by URL or embed code. Learn more

Yellow Garden Spiders are venomous, but they are unlikely to bite unless they are provoked. If you grab one protecting its egg sac, it will bite, but the result in humans is little worse than a wasp sting. The venom is used to paralyze prey and also predigests its prey's insides.

While they may not be as useful in your yard as say, an opossum, the Yellow Garden Spider is unlikely to cause any harm. So maybe you should give Charlotte a break before you burn her web down.

 
 
kristen bio.jpg
 

Photoessay: Hug-a-Cop at Mount Moriah

Although there was less hugging and more handshaking, Hug-a-Cop was a fantastic success. The crowds gathered Saturday, August 24, at Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church to meet local and regional law enforcement, firefighters, and clergy. The church served homemade fried fish, hot dogs, and cole slaw. The event was filled with lots of smiles as community members caught up with friends, and of course, lots of hugs.

Matthews Police National Night Out: A Photoessay

Last night, Police Departments nationwide hosted National Night Out . Started in 1984, National Night Out is an annual event that promotes accessibility and partnership with communities and their police departments.

The Matthews Police hosted this year’s event on the town green in front of Town Hall. Kids were badged junior officers (unofficially) for the evening and enjoyed the bounce houses and balloons; adults learned more about local law enforcement programs and the men and women on the force. Everyone enjoyed meeting the local police team and seeing the vehicles, but K-9 Unit Benjamin was the star of the evening.

If you missed it this year, plan on attending next year. National Night Out is hosted the first Tuesday of August, and the Matthews Police Department is already brainstorming for it.

2810[high]5: Ways to Simplify Your Life

Did you know that the first week of August is National Simplify your Life week? Here are a few ways you can simplify things in your home, at work, and in your mind. 

Declutter - Did you know that there are more reasons to declutter your home than the obvious (less clutter)? According to Psychology Today, it has several psychological benefits as well. It forces you to use decision making and problem solving skills as you prioritize the stuff you have and come up with solutions on how to store it. It can also reduce anxiety, because we lack of order sometimes causes stress. Humans may have evolved to respond this way, because a lack of order in was most likely disadvantageous for early humans. Finally, decluttering might give your mind an opportunity to wander and take a break from your usual thinking.

Prep for Tomorrow - How many times a day do we feel rushed because we are doing something at the last minute? This week, make yourself a list of things you can do to get yourself ready for the next day, even if it’s just one or two activities. Pack your lunch the night before. Before you leave the office, jot down a quick list of what you want to get done tomorrow, Pick out your clothes, pack your work and gym bag, and prep your breakfast. You’ll be surprised how much more smoothly your morning goes the next day.

Embrace "No" - Sometimes, its okay to say no. Many of us are people pleasers (myself included) and we often find ourselves taking on projects or activities that are not beneficial to ours or others lives. If you’re constantly overextending yourself and it’s affecting your mental well-being, use this week as an excuse to practice saying “no” and see if it doesn’t help your outlook.

Prioritize your time - Embracing “no” leads me to the next tip, prioritize time. Now that you’ve gotten some time back by politely declining activities, be mindful of how you spend that time. How much time do you spend mindlessly checking your phone, your email, your twitter feed? Check out from your screens during set hours each day, or only allow yourself to check your phone at the top of every hour. 

Give Yourself a Break - Treat yourself to a destressing activity that you enjoy. Go for a hike. Read a book. Get a massage. Do nothing.

 
kristen bio.jpg

2810[high]5: Free Dates in Matthews

On a budget for the summer? Here are 5 FREE dates you can and your plus one can do right here in Matthews. Bonus points if you take a selfie and tag @matthewsbeacon with the #MatthewsDateNight!

1B2A4755.jpg

PDA in front of PDA - Did you know that the giant heart sculpture outside of Stumptown Park is called “Public Display of Affection”? (If you read this Beacon article from 2018 you do!) What better excuse to demonstrate your affection than to do so in front of iconic Matthews public art piece. (This writer strongly encourages you to keep your PDA rated G).

country place park.jpg

Checkers at Country Place Park- You and your better half can enjoy the sunshine and decide once and for all who is the board champion. Country Place Park, near Matthews United Methodist church has 3 tables with checkerboard tops for public use, as well as a pollinator garden and bee themed art. Feel like it’s not a free date because you have to go buy your own checkers pieces? Save yourselves some bottle caps from your not-free-dates and make yourself some bottle cap checkers.

walking tour.jpg

Walking Tour - Did you know the Matthews has its own FREE self-guided walking tour you can follow? Print out the tour, put on your walking shoes, and take turns narrating the history and culture as you travel around town.

barbara tank town.jpg

Lecture at the Library - The library has more to offer than just free books (though that’s still pretty awesome). They also offer opportunities to hear talks on subjects like earth friendly way to greenifying your lawn, how to relax through mindfulness and meditation, or a chance to read, write, and discuss poetry

kids in nature squirrel lake wipe out waste.jpg

Volunteer - One of the best ways to strengthen the bonds of an existing relationship is to commit to a shared activity-like volunteering. Matthews has over 55 nonprofits just registered with the Chamber of Commerce, many of which would eagerly appreciate four extra hands. Help HAWK maintain their garden at Squirrel Lake Park, sort donations at the Matthews Help Center food pantry or help build a home with Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity

 
kristen bio.jpg

2810 [high] 5: Homes Away from Home for Your Guests to Stay (That Aren’t Your House)

Summer is the perfect time for vacations. Time for your sister to load up the car with all her kids for a gathering of the cousins, time for your old college roommates to finally make that road trip to come and see you, or time for in-laws to watch the kids for a week or two while they’re out of school. While everyone loves a good reunion, we all need our space sometimes. Perhaps your home is too small for all your guests, or you can only survive a week with your mother-in-law if you have your own space. Either way, these 5 Matthews options will allow your guests to feel right at home while they’re here, even if it’s not in yours.

The Lemmond House Bed & Breakfast: Offer your guests a little sliver of historical Matthews during their stay in the 28105! The Lemmond House Bed & Breakfast is located right on Trade Street, in the heart of downtown Matthews. You may have driven or walked by it many times without ever even knowing it was there (I did!). The Lemmond Family first built the home in the early 1900s and their family remained there through the 1980s. Today it is owned, operated, and continuously renovated by Bill and Connie Clayton. The Bed & Breakfast offers two second-floor guest rooms, each with a private bath equipped with jacuzzi tub and walk-in showers. Breakfast options include french toast, bacon, eggs with cheese, fruit salad, coffee, and juice. Each of the two rooms can be rented for $149 a night and allows for children over the age of 12 (with adult supervision), but no pets. (Images via Owner’s website)

Matthews Manor Charlotte Bed and Breakfast: Beautiful Matthews Manor is located less than half a mile from Squirrel Lake Park and has four lovely rooms available to rent, with prices ranging from $150-$220 a night. The 7,000 square foot home was originally built in 1973 and used to be part of a 52-acre farm. Your out-of-town guests will be able to rent mountain bikes from the Manor for use on the greenway, have access to a kitchen exclusively for guests, a game room with purple-felted pool table, and swimming pool.(Images via Owner’s website)

The BOHOPad Airbnbnb: If your guests are looking for a unique place at a reasonable price, then the BOHOPad is the place for them. Complete with vaulted ceilings, intricate tile work, and brightly colored walls and decor, the BOHOPad is a hidden bohemian gem in Matthews. The home can accommodate up to 6 guests, with one queen bed, two single beds, a sleeper sofa, and two baths for only $84 a night. Guests will have access to the entire home, and if they need something, the Airbnb hosts are only 15 minutes away. Since you are renting the whole hoouse, children are welcome, but your furry friends will have to stay at home. (Images via Owner’s AirBnB)

Gorgeous Guest Home Airbnb: If you only have one or two guests needing a place to stay, this Gorgeous Guest Home may just what is needed. This new Scandinavian-style apartment has one queen bed and is only $85 a night. Kids are more than welcome, and the hosts even offer to provide a pack and play or toys if needed. The apartment is located next to their home, where they reside with their black lab puppy, so they do have a no pet policy. (Images via Owner’s AirBnB)

Three Bedroom House Airbnb: If you have a large group of guests coming to visit (no wonder you don’t want them staying at your place), or they have a pet, this last Airbnb is the choice for them. With three queen-sized bed and 2.5 baths,  this place is a steal for only $65 a night. Plus, the backyard is screened in, so your traveling animal companions will have a place to stretch their legs. (Images via Owner’s AirBnB)

 
kristen bio.jpg

2810[high]5: Curbside Groceries

I made a quick visit yesterday to Public Works and was surprised at the number of edible plants interspersed in the landscaping. As a gardener, I appreciate the co-mingling and overlap of annuals, perennials, and edibles. The King of Edible Landscaping, Mario Rmah, is employed with the Town's Public Works Department.

The landscape at their facility got me thinking about other plants in the landscape, both conventional and uncommon. I sent myself on a quest to find other edible landscapes in Matthews. Wander around and see what you can find, and if it’s ok with the property owner, take a little nibble.

landscaping with food hosta.jpg

Hosta: There’s a reason the deer love to eat your tender hostas…they’re delicious. More commonly eaten in mountainous regions of Japan, Urui is taking off here in the states as well. Harvest shoots as they pop up in the spring, and cook as you would asparagus. Need some inspiration? How about a recipe that involves butter.

landscaping with food lemongrass.jpg

Lemongrass: If you like clumping fountain grasses but don’t want to end up with the disaster that can be pampas, why not plant lemongrass? It’s an annual here, but smells great and won’t create a giant, immovable root system. Bonus? You’ll have the makings of a delicious curry at your fingertips. This clump, amidst the rudbeckia, is at Public Works, which, I’m learning, is the place to visit if you’re a fan of edible landscaping.

 
landscaping with food malabar.jpg

Malabar Spinach: Not actually a spinach, there’s a large patch between the curb and sidewalk at the Matthews Free Medical Clinic. Malabar spinach is a heat tolerant annual green that readily self-seeds and creates a lush, dense ground covering with brilliant red tendrils. It can be eaten raw or cooked, use it just as you would regular spinach.

 
landscaping with food melons.jpg

Melons: The garden that sparked my interest in finding edible landscapes is right out front of Public Works. The beautifully curated, layered landscape, was created by Mario. Look closely. Do you see the watermelon peeking out? That large swath of green is actually several watermelon vines and at least two different varieties. There are also some edible herbs sprinkled throughout the ‘Works Department grounds.

 
landscaping with food prickly pear.jpg

Prickly Pears: Front and center of the parking lot of Pita Kebab is an intimidating island of prickly pear. My first taste (and subsequent fascination) with prickly pears began with Azteca’s Macho Burrito. After being despined, both the paddles and the fruit are edible. From a cold slaw to grilled nopales, prickly pears add a fierce looking element to your edible landscape.

 

What about Bob?

All photos courtesy Bob Aycock

All photos courtesy Bob Aycock

If you ever get a chance to sit down with Bob Aycock, you better have some time on your hands. It’s not because he talks too much, but because he’s got a lot going on. A former CMS art teacher, avid chicken keeper, father of four (plus two pups), and raised-bed gardener, there’s more to him than meets the eye.

One thing is for sure: Matthews is and has been a constant through Bob’s life.

Bob’s family moved from Charlotte to Matthews in the 80s. A product of Matthews Elementary (then Randolph and East Meck), he left Matthews for college at UNC Wilmington where he graduated with an arts degree.

It was a trip back home that brought Bob and his wife, Jen, together when they ended up carpooling from UNCW to Matthews. Not long after, Bob proposed to Jen in the gazebo in front of Town Hall on Christmas night. Now the two are raising their kids Robert, William, Elisabeth, and Gretchen here.

After teaching for CMS, Bob happened into marketing, which evolved into social media gigs. He knows social media inside and out and is using that knowledge to bring prominent Matthews nonprofits into the social media age. Starting with rebuilding the Matthews Woman’s Club Service League website, he’s now working on rebuilding websites for the Matthews Historical Foundation, Reid House, and Matthews Heritage Museum.

ReidHouse1.jpg

He knows social media inside and out and is using that knowledge to bring prominent Matthews nonprofits into the social media age.

Sitting on the town’s Historic Preservation Advisory Committee as well as the Matthews Historical Foundation (where he serves as 2nd Vice President on the Board), Bob works on expanding their presence on Facebook and Instagram.

All of that busy-ness aside, family remains Bob’s priority. He’s sentimental, as evidenced by his love for Disney. The family hens (Merriweather, Vidia, Tinkerbell, and Rosetta) named after Disney fairies, likely spark as much joy for Bob as his kids.

chicken-selfie.JPG

Holidays are full of wonder for the Aycocks; especially Halloween and Christmas. There’s something magical about both that he likes to recreate for his kids. Each holiday has its own family traditions, starting with a Halloween tree. By Christmas, there’s a decorated tree in almost every room in the house. Of course, there’s a little bit of tech involved, at the Aycock house, Santa’s Mailbox is a Google Doc.

Want to know more? Bob and Jen, own and write WineCarolinas.Com as a way to “to celebrate the charming wineries around us and highlight the rich variety of wines they produce.” Follow him on Instagram for adventures around #MatthewsNC and beyond!

Touching Art: A Sensory Art Show at McDowell Arts Center

When my daughter and I walked into the Sensory Art Show at McDowell Arts Center (123 E. McDowell St.), I still had to ask, “It’s okay to touch everything?” Melissa Johnson, Cultural Recreation Manager for the Town of Matthews, nodded and cheerfully said, “Yep.”

That’s exactly what we did: touched each piece, enjoyed the colors and textures, the variety of methods of art making covered in the exhibit. From metal sculpture to heavily textured abstracts, the show was also perfect for kids. Friendge, Andrea Vail’s interactive community-building project, was an unassuming table in the middle of the room, waiting for viewers to sit down and take part.

With this exhibit, it’s the interaction that sparks the magic of art in this show.

Enjoy some of the photos my daughter and I took, but also go and see it yourself. The Multi-Sensory Art Show is on display through July 5. Hours are typically Monday-Friday: 1 pm-8 pm, Saturday: 10 am-4 pm, and Sunday: 1pm-6pm, but call to double check first: 704-847-9746.

2810[high]5: Book Clubs

2810high5 pocket book.jpg

The Pocket Size Book Club: I know you’ve probably already decided you don’t have time to join a book club. You’ve probably decided you don’t even have time to finish reading this article. But before you go, you should know that the Matthews Library hosts a book club specifically for those who are short on time. The Pocket Size Book Club meets monthly and discusses books that are 300 pages or less. For July, they will be reading Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas, a story about a friendship between a sheltered young girl and a teenage maid in Colombia during the reign of the violent drug lord, Pablo Escobar.

Date: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

230 Matthews Station St, Matthews, NC 28105

2810high5 cbt run club.jpg

Carolina Beer Temple Book Club: If you’ve ever hung out in downtown Matthews on a Tuesday evening, you probably know about the Carolina Beer Temple’s Tuesday Run Club. But did you know that once a month they also host a book club after the run? In case you’re more into reading than running, don’t worry, you don’t need to run to participate in the book discussion and the books will not be about running. For July, the club will be discussing the book Be Free or Die: The Amazing Store of Robert Smalls Escape from Slavery to Union Hero by Cate Lineberry.

Date: Tuesday, July 30, 2019 8:00 pm-9:00 pm

131 Matthews Station St #1C, Matthews, NC 28105

2810high5 20s 30s book club.jpg

Books on Tap: Matthews 20s & 30s Book Club: The Carolina Beer Temple is not the only place you can enjoy an adult beverage while discussing great reads. The Matthews Library hosts a monthly book club at Seaboard Taproom and Wine Bar specifically for the 20s and 30s crowd. In July, they will be reading (one of my personal favorites!) All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Winner of a Pulitzer Prize, the novel is about the connecting paths of a blind French girl and a German boy during World War II.

Date: Thursday, July 11, 2019 -7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

213 N Trade St, Matthews, NC 28105

2810high5 nonfic.jpg

Far Horizons Non-Fiction Book Club: If you’re more reading about real life, considering joining the Far Horizons Non-Fiction Book Club at the library. July’s book will be Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, by Jose Vargas. In his memoir, Vargas poignantly discusses his experience as an undocumented immigrant in the United States and the emotional complexities of trying to “pass” as an American and living in a country for most of your life but still not feeling as if you can call it home.

Date: Monday, July 8, 2019, 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm.

Matthews Library, 230 Matthews Station St, Matthews, NC 28105

2810high5 teen sci fi.jpg

Teen: Are you worried your teenager’s brains are beginning to melt over the summer? Encourage them to join the Teen Book Club at the library. Rather than focusing on one particular book, they select a different genre to discuss each month. For July, the focus will be Science Fiction books.

Date: Monday, July 15, 2019, 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

Matthews Library, 230 Matthews Station St, Matthews, NC 28105

Bonus!

Are none of these book clubs your particular choice of genre? Did you know the Charlotte Mecklenburg library actually offers Book Club Kits to help you begin your own book discussion with friends, families, or even strangers? Each kit includes 10 copies of a book, biographical notes on the author, and sample discussion questions, and tips on how to host a successful book club.  Materials can be kept for up to six weeks, and you can learn more and see what book club kits are available by visiting the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library website.

kristen bio.jpg
 

2810[high]5: Free (or Nearly Free) Fun

2810high5 fountain rock.jpg

Fountain Rock Park: This passive park is between the Trade St. and Country Place entrances to the greenway. Tucked off to the side, it’s the perfect spot to take the kids when they’re tired of being inside. Who knew a giant rock and splattering water could fuel the imagination? It’s a Matthews mom’s (or dad’s) miracle!

Near the entrance to 4-Mile Creek Greenway at Trade (311 S. Trade St.)

2810high5 petsmart cats.jpg

Visiting the cats at PetSmart: All of the pet fun, none of the litter scooping. We go to PetSmart for essentials, but always stay an extra long time looking at the cats up for adoption. If there’s a volunteer on site, you can even get a few kitty snuggles in.

11210 Brigman Rd, Matthews, NC 28105

2810high5 windsor.jpg

Windsor Park: Go for the zip line, stay for the many opportunities to explore nature. The trees keep things cool, and this park gets bonus points for having a recycling bin at the picnic tables.

10140 Northeast Pkwy (Photos by the author)

2810high5 library.jpg

Matthews Library: Always a favorite because free, but also the summer programs look extra fun. This week Discovery Place has programs for all ages. Check the schedule to see what else is going on.

230 Matthews Station St. (Photos from the Library’s website)

2810high5 music.jpg

Live Music: This is where the “cheap” comes into play. Live music is easy to find if you’re going to a restaurant. But not buying food? Kinda feels a little weird. A lot of people go to Food Truck Friday just for the music. Why not get a slice of cake and enjoy the music at the Loyalist? This Saturday is a bluegrass band. Grace O’Malley’s hosts a Sunday Session, and the Farmers’ Market has live music as well.

(Top image by South Branch Bluegrass Band, bottom is author’s own)